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What is SPARK? -

What is SPARK?

As autism is a spectrum, researchers need many people with autism to participate in all types of research. Until now, only a small number of individuals and families affected by autism have ever participated in research. SPARK wants to invite the entire autism community to dramatically expand its participation. SPARK will provide researchers with medical and genetic information from tens of thousands of individuals and families affected by autism. These data will power important new research that aims to advance the understanding of autism and provide meaningful information and resources to participants.

Who can participate in SPARK? -

Who can participate in SPARK?

SPARK is for all individuals living in the U.S. with a professional diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their family members. Through partnerships with clinical sites across the country, over 106,000 people with autism, 28,000 families, and 275,000 individuals have enrolled in SPARK. The size of the SPARK cohort will allow identification of almost all the genes that are responsible for autism. This will then kickstart progress in areas outside of genetics.

What's involved in SPARK participation? -

What's involved in SPARK participation?

By joining SPARK, you will have the chance to learn about and participate in surveys and research opportunities. While the surveys and research are not required, they help us learn much more. SPARK participants can also opt-in to saliva sample submission, which supports the genetic portion of the study. Currently, around 10% of our participants receive a genetic result. Even if you do not receive a genetic result, your participation can help increase the number of genes and genetic changes known to be related to autism.

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Today we simply don’t know enough about autism. SPARK—a landmark autism research project—aims to make important progress possible. SPARK stands for ‘Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research,’ and the mission is simple: we want to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.